Marriage, Partner and Spouse visas – Positive changes to the minimum income requirements?
Have you recently made an application for a spouse visa and are concerned about meeting the minimum income requirement?
Have you been considering making an application but decided not to as you could not comply with the income requirement?
The Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis announced a new Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules (HC 290) on 20 July 2017.
The main purpose behind the changes is to give effect to the Supreme Court’s judgment in MM (Lebanon) and Others  UKSC 10, which was handed down on 22 February 2017. Following the judgement the Home office placed on hold applications that could be refused for not meeting the requirement and cases involving dependant children.
The Supreme Court ruled that the minimum income requirement for partner visas is lawful in principle, however it also found that:
- other reliable sources of income, financial support or funds should be taken into account to assess whether the minimum income requirement is met, where refusal of the application could breach Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life); and
- there is a duty to have regard to the welfare of children under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009
The changes, together with changes to the Home Office’s guidance to decision-makers, intend to give effect to the judgement’s findings.
The changes set out in the Statement will take effect from 10 August 2017.
The full document is available to read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-hc290-20-july-2017
Is this a positive change?
It appears that the Home Office will now have to take a less stringent approach to calculating whether an applicant has reached the minimum income threshold
The Home Office will also now have to take into account as a primary consideration, the best interests of dependant children.
Overall this is a step in the right direction but it remains to be seen how this will work out in practice.
Steps you can take now
If you have already made an application and are waiting for a decision we can help you to make further representations in support of your application with reference to this recent case law and changes in the immigration rules.
If you have been contemplating making an application, contact us now.